Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Tuesday Teacher Tips - April 29, 2014 - Google as a Timer, Digital Citizenship & Summer Teacher Reads


Using Google as a Timer

Check out this How-to video by Donnie Piercey - follow him on Twitter @MrPiercey

Digital Citizenship as a Way of Life, Not Just a Lesson

Here at the end of the year kids tend to be a bit “squirrely”, and we as teachers might find that we are letting things slide that we would not have at the beginning of the year.  When it comes to technology in our classrooms – iPads, computers, SmartBoards etc – it’s time to double down our efforts to keep our kids and technology safe.

While it wouldn’t be good practice to introduce new rules surrounding technology, it is the perfect time to take a look at what is working and what isn’t so that you can make good adjustments for next year.  Even though our students have grown up with technology, that does not mean they necessarily understand social skills that accompany the use of technology in different situations.

It’s always a good idea to encourage kids to:
  • Be Responsible with technology – that means washing hands, using hand sanitizer, being gentle with things like headphones and the devices in general.  A gentle reminder to make good choices when using technology to create can go a long way.
  • Be Respectful – Students should always remember that when they are using technology at school they need to be professional. If they are interacting with others online they should keep a respectful tone and use the Golden Rule and treat others the way you would want to be treated.
  • Be a Team Player – Students should wait their turn to use the tech and share when applicable
  • Be a Hard Worker – Students should do their best work and use only those sites or applications approved by their teacher as educationally valuable – or sites and applications that are necessary to their work at hand.
  • Be Safe – Students should constantly be reminded not to share personal information with anyone or any website online and they shouldn’t share their passwords with other people.

Here are some things to think about for next year:

  • Consider what signals you will use for letting kids know when it is appropriate to use technology in your classroom
  • Consider creating a class technology job – that person is responsible for checking to make sure things are in order, plugging devices in and trouble shooting
  • Consider what your technology expectations are for your class and give how you will communicate those expectations
  • Consider how you will model good use of technology in your classroom – what skills do the students need to be successful
  • Look for ways that you can make good digital citizenship a way of life in your classroom and not just a lesson

 Check out these articles for some additional great ideas!

Summer Reading for Teachers

For those of you looking for a little self-directed professional development this summer, two titles I would recommend checking into are Donalyn Miller’s The Book Whisperer and Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess (this is on my personal reading list for the summer).

Miller’s The Book Whisperer is a truly inspiring read that could potentially rock your reading pedagogy.  Miller, a 6th grade language arts teacher, shares her tried and true approach to creating culture of reading that inspires her students to become lifelong readers and helps them make major gains in their ability to read and comprehend what they’re reading through independent reading.  In Miller’s class, students read an average of four books per school year, and consistently achieve high scores on standardized state tests.  The combination of passion that Miller communicates and the format she shares for how she runs her class makes the book an extremely engaging read. 

You can follow Miller on Twitter @donalynbooks, and don’t miss her website bookwhisperer.com.  Miller is also a contributor and moderator for the #nerdybookclub http://nerdybookclub.wordpress.com/ 

For my own reading, I’ll be checking out Dave Burgess’s Teach Like a Pirate.  The book promises to “dramatically increase your passion as a teacher” and help you develop “outrageously engaging lessons”.  The book has sparked its own hashtag #tlap and discussion on Monday at 8 pm CST.  Follow Burgess @burgessdave and check out his website/blog http://www.daveburgess.com/.

For more suggestions, check out this post "The Ten Best Summer Reads for Teachers" by Angela Watson, which has suggestions like Drive and The Passion Driven Classroom in addition to Teach Like a Pirate and The Book Whisperer.